UC Libraries Next-Generation Technical Services


For NGTS, we do project and portfolio management

The NGTS Initiative teams are (or will be) evaluating and implementing a number of new programs, tools, and policies, often using new methodologies to do so. For example, this is the first time that a group of project managers has been provided to support a system-wide effort. There is a recognition that NGTS is both multi-faceted and multi-phased. The Project Management Working Group (PMWG) is chaired by me, Joan Starr, the overall Project Manager for NGTS and liaison to the Management Team. The other 7 members are: Colby Riggs (UCI and assigned to POT1), Gary Johnson (UCSB and assigned to POT2), Bryan Kehr (UCSD and assigned to POT3), Lisa Spagnolo (UCD and assigned to POT4), Lucia Orlando (UCSC and assigned to POT5), Michael Yonezawa (UCR and assigned to POT6), and Adrian Petrisor (UCI and assigned to POT7).

The PMWG meets regularly to discuss common approaches and address individual questions and issues. Together, we seek solutions to problems that arise and offer support to one another. We are taking a learning approach so that we can make adjustments where needed as we go along. Having this level of support for the NGTS teams and for each other is really new for system-wide projects, and we think it is a part of the transformative power of the overall initiative.

One of the strategies that is possible with this arrangement is something called “portfolio management.” Because we are treating each POT as an individual project, the Management Team can look across the group of projects as a “portfolio” and assess several things, including strategic alignment, resource allocation, and risk. In terms of strategic alignment, the Management Team has articulated the NGTS Goals in this way: 

Cooperative Collection Development = POT 7

Develop a system-wide view of collections that would allow libraries to develop richer collections and to leverage selector expertise. Consider and propose actions that balance increased efficiencies of centralized collection development with more diverse multi-campus collection development.

Collaborative Technical Services = POT 2, POT 5, POT 6

Develop the standards, policies, and practices (including the technical issues, human resources, and other factors) that will move UC libraries toward integrated technical services expertise and operations. 

Collaborative Digital Initiatives = POT 1, POT 3

Develop policies and practices and implement the technical infrastructure to provide for collaborative UC digital services.

Financial and Technical infrastructure = POT 4, SPOT 2, SPOT 3

Develop a fiscal framework for system-wide collaboration. Implement an integrated technical infrastructure to facilitate these collaborations.  

The Management Team’s first actions in resource allocation were to balance the requests for Lightning Team members across campuses and groups. Later, resource allocation may come in to play when we have more information about which activities have more successful outcomes and we may chose to move resources around.

Discussions about risk, both assessment and mitigation, are also best done in an overall way, because the POT projects are intertwined. 

If you’d like to read more about portfolio management, I recommend a new paper by Jennifer Vinopal of NYU (pre-print available).